Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Ilocos December 2016: Malacanang of the North (+ Empanada!)

After dusting myself excessively (there was a lot of sand), we went to the Malacañang of the North. This is going to be shorter than the others (even the Luna Shrine post) because...well we were here for a short time. It was also the last stop we had before heading to the windmills and Pagudpud (the next post, very exciting and my personal favourite).

For some reason, I thought this was Elpidio Quirino's (summary: former president in the 50s, controversial election) vacation house. I must have mixed it up with a lot of the other sites we were bound to see, so imagine my surprise when I saw this portrait when entering the lobby.

Former President Ferdinand Marcos is ah, quite a sensitive topic here in my country. It's quite difficult to write this post as I have so much (and I mean so much. I did a big report on this in my last year of uni) to say but I don't want it to be completely saturated in politics. I get enough stress reading the news of what the current Philippine president is up to. 

Oops, I let that one slip. 

Long story short, his family is quite controversial, even and especially up until now. They're from Ilocos so it makes sense that they would have this kind of house in this area. It is called Malacañang of the North because Malacañang = White House. It used to be the vacation house of the Marcos' during their uh, reign. 

It was quite difficult to get a picture of the house front but to give you an idea of how grand this house is, it's like half a Gatsby House. From a long, winding driveway going to the house, to the entrance, lobby (a lobby, not even a living room. That's upstairs!), and a house across the lake. All you need is a dock for boats and a green light.

The famous Batac empanada. If I'm honest, this was one of the highlights of my trip haha!
One great thing about this place is that it had my favourite - Ilocos Empanada! To the unfamiliar, empanada is a deep fried stuffed pastry filled with green papaya, egg, and longanisa (a local sausage).  It can also have other vegetables and fillings such as bean sprouts, but I was too engrossed in eating that I didn't take the time to analyze (no regrets). 

Ilocos Empanada actually has two variations: the Vigan Empanada, which we will revisit in my Vigan post, and the Batac Empanada, which has a distinct orange colour and is eaten with vinegar and catsup. No joke. It sounds strange, but the combination is surprisingly delicious.

It's quite a popular destination, so getting a people-free picture was impossible. This is part of the lobby, with a grand staircase leading up to the living room and a lot of the bedrooms. 

Other side of the lobby, plus a peek into the dining room. 

Upstairs balcony, overlooking the garden and the lake. It's a very breezy location, so I can imagine just how nice the weather would be right now. 

This is the main living room. I know you might be a bit confused, but in a lot of old Spanish-style houses, the living room or sala was always at the top floor. I'm not sure on the exact logic behind this, but it's kind of like having a rooftop for where you have parties. I encountered this a lot in the houses I visited in Manila, which makes me wish I asked why they were to be at the top. 

Some of the dolls inside one of the bedrooms. Am I the only one slightly creeped out? 

That's it for me! I hope that despite the tone in this post that you enjoyed the little facts I spewed nonetheless. No worries, the next post (and last for Ilocos Norte before I start with Vigan) will be very pleasing to the eyes and much lighter. 

Hint: it looks (and felt) a bit like Ireland. I kid you not!

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